Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Personal Note of Gratitude

The theme for this months blog circle is gratitude. This is so easy for me to relate to.   I have so much to be thankful for.  This is usually a blog about my creative pursuits but because it is Thanksgiving I am taking time out to reflect upon what is golden in my life.

 (pretty sad that I have so few pictures of my three together as adults.  This one was taken 6 years ago at my oldest, beautiful daughter's wedding).  
My family means everything to me.  I have three amazing children, (above), all grown and productive,   Anyone who has had children know there were certainly trials and sacrifices along the way but the outcome is hugely satisfactory.  I LOVE them with a fierceness that surprises me.   In the past six years those three have produced 7 children which, of course, are  grandchildren to me.  I LOVE them.

I have so much to be thankful for, but for this post want to focus on how I got to where I am now as an artist.

I really had No Idea  how much I yearned to explore this side of me. For thirty years I have dedicated my life to  raising and educating kids. I have been a school teacher in 2nd through 9th grades and have given 100% to that endeavor. 

Here are a couple of pictures showing you how goofy my life as a elementary school teacher could be.  

About a year ago, I knew that I was at the top of my game in teaching, but I was feeling it was time to move on.  I had other things I was aching to do.  I retired in June and by August I had renovated a spare room, turning it into my creative space.

My journey has been documented in this blog.  I am only three months into my (official) life as an artist but in that time I have taken three e-classes, joined a large artist community, signed up for an art retreat out of state, read countless art books,  explored, experimented and plunged into painting on a regular basis.  I have created an artist Facebook page, an Etsy shop and this blog. I am serious and  I am so thankful for the opportunity.

Since I was a little kid, I have always been happiest creating.  I learned to use a sewing machine at the age of 8, and by the following year I was sewing clothes for myself and my dolls.  I lived on acreage where there were woods to explore, claybanks to scavenge, chicken houses to renovate into a playhouse and  camps in the forest.  We did not own a TV and I was never bored.

(This picture is of me, in the middle, with my two sisters,  my mother, aunt and father.   I love the innocence of those days in the 50's. 

I love everything about that time of my life. )

When I was in high school, I decided that I wanted to be an interior designer. I took extra Home Ec classes and art classes. When I got to college I wasn't as committed to that idea and ended up with a major in Clothing, Textiles and Art. I did not have the resources to plunge into Fashion Design in Seattle in the 60's, and I needed to support a husband going through law school, so I ended up going back to college to get  a teaching degree.

I am SO thankful for my career as a teacher. It was rewarding on many levels, and most certainly, never dull.  What that experience is providing me now is a bit of retirement security while I explore this next phase in my life. Now that I am retired, I am so thankful to have something that intrigues me, causes me to learn, and is always there to turn to when I have some time. which is pretty much whenever I want.   And that is the way it should be.  I put in my time, as a parent and as a teacher, and now I get to play.
It is just so right and I am so thankful that this is my life right now.

  Here is some recent "fun" art to share with you.

And now, (after you leave me a sweet gratitude comment (<3 ), circle round to my friend, Kelli  Watcherson's blog to continue our personal thoughts on being thankful.


  1. So glad you are allowing yourself to pursue your art. I wish you all the luck and courage on this next chapter!

  2. I'm too am ver glad you are pursuing what your soul needs. You didn't skip a beat! Can't wait to see where this takes you - congratulations!

  3. A wonderful life you have indeed! I also have worked with children and enjoyed it. I love your art it's beautiful. I am so glad you have the opportunity to persue it now and share it with us! I can't wait to be a Grandma and be able to do art with them. You have a great life :) I am grateful for all of you flying lessons women!

  4. Your art is beautiful! How wonderful that you have time to follow this creative passion now. I have a feeling your art will touch many people. I am really enjoying each post in our blog circle!Blessings, Nancy

  5. Good for you! Only 3 months, this amazes me. This life style suits you perfectly. Thanks Flyer!

  6. I thought of you today as I pondered whether to pose the "Hundred Thankful Things" challenge to the kids. You were the first among us to complete it. :)

    1. What surprised me about that challenge, Mark, was how so many of the kids did such eloquent and thoughtful writing with that exercise. Put mine to shame!

  7. Jean, what a wonderful family, it was great to see your photos and learn more about you and your venture into your art business. See you next month on the blog circle!

  8. I bet you were a fantabulous teacher! I bet you're a great mom, too. So happy you get to play now!
    I LOVE the pics you shared...really gives us a glimpse into your wonderful world. We have tried to give our kids the kind of environment you had growing up...the woods to explore and, yes, we even have an old chicken house on the property! I think this environment really produces creative individuals. It certainly did in your case! Inspiring!

  9. I just love Jean how you are having so much fun playing in this next phase of your life... that's what I call freedom to live freely and be whatever your heart desires. I love it. You certainly deserve every bit of it. I enjoyed reading about what you have done since retiring and putting into motion your dream of doing art. You have a beautiful family... and it is wonderful that you are blessed to be a grandmother.

  10. Thank you for sharing! I teach as well, and have found that the demands of teaching do not give me the opportunity to create as much as I would like. But you are right...teaching is NEVER dull!

  11. Oh this is wonderful!!!! I feel like I am chatting with a friend when I read your words :) Thank you for sharing so much with all of us!

  12. I really loved reading your story about how you came full circle back to art. It's amazing to hear so many people say there is a connection to what they most wanted/loved as a child and how that yearning sticks. It's like that's the part of us who is true. I loved reading about that in your post.

    Can I also just say how much I ADORE how your grandmother is holding your face? Awww. That is just so full of love.

    Thank you for sharing! <3

  13. Lovely photos Jean & your painting is wonderful, thank you for sharing it with us. I think it will be exciting to see how your life of teaching and raising children shines through and informs your art.

  14. Hi Jean! Last month was a bit packed and I didn't take the time to comment on everyone's posts in the circle, but I'm reading it all again today before we post the new one!
    Great post and what a beautiful art space you've created for yourself! Enjoy this wonderful journey!

  15. Hi Jean... this was a great and inspirational post. As a flying sister, but at the back of the class, I'm proud and envious of where you are. This post has helped me figure out what I want to say in my first blog post about my past present and future. You're on it girl... support you all the way. And like Laly said, it's been such a busy fall it's taken me a while to make the rounds.

  16. Hi Jean, I loved reading your post. Thanks for sharing. Reading about your life is so interesting (I grew up without TV too, and was always creating things and romping around in nature). It's neat to see what led you to where you are today. The changes you've made recently are magnificent & it looks like you're right where you're supposed to be. Your art is beautiful! I really love your studio space too, with so many beautiful paintings hanging right within view of your workspace. It's lovely. And what a great blog circle you have going here with fellow flyers. Enjoy this wonderful new artists life you've created. And Congratulations! ~ Ginger